Nov 18, 2013

Uninspired & Terrified

It's a sad day to realise that not only do you feel like you have nothing to say, but that you feel something akin to fear in saying anything at all.

Here it comes - the obligatory "Gee, I don't blog much anymore, do I?" post.

I've been avoiding it all year, truth be told. I read a "Tips for How to Blog Properly" type of list once that said you should never write such a post because it will frustrate your readers. Instead, you should just post when you are inspired.

But it's been so long since I was inspired, hasn't it? My last few posts have been relatively run of the mill. I couldn't even summon the energy to write in more detail about my beloved He Died With a Felafel in His Hand adventure at the Powerhouse. You'd think I could've mustered up some juicy titbits about staging a production, or lyrical prose about the transience of art and shared human experiences in the performance realm.

But no. I was too busy living the production, being responsible for as much detail as possible, and trying to keep my own head above water during a stressful time that it all went in a blur and now almost feels like a dream just out of reach. Like a massage with a feather, leaving just a faint sensation of having been drawn across your skin.

I write all day, (almost) every day for work now, you see. I enjoy my job as an arts writer, but it uses a lot of the creative energy that I used to dollop out on blogging. I have to find a way into arts stories, write them in an interesting and hopefully dynamic way. I spend a lot of time on trying to make what I write something people will want to read. It's not a task that I can ever imagine finishing to my complete satisfaction. There will always be more to try, more to do.

When something happens and I get the faint spark of an idea for a blog post, it is hard to capture that and keep it sacred, keep it away from the gaping maw of the internet, whose job it is to write, rewrite, attack, counter-attack and reposte on every conceivable topic all before I've had my lunch on any given day.

There's so much on the internet, you see. So much sturm und drang, so much opinion, so many articles about what does and does not constitute equality/sexism/douchebaggery/right/wrong, so much goddamned commentary about rape that it makes me want to scream.

I'm not an expert on anything, so why should I throw my voice into the beast? What good does it do? What the hell do I know? At a time in my life where I'm slowly growing more confident in my own skills to achieve certain things, I have simultaneously never felt dumber. Apart from a few dodgy puns, I'm at a loss to explain what kind of contribution I can make.

Putting out any kind of "statement" now seems risky. Given the aforementioned state of "feeling dumb", I constantly feel that I am "wrong", that what I think is abhorrent to others and a stigma on me. All of it - their opinions, my opinions, are tiring.

The other night I tweeted about tattoos...

...which prompted a few narky responses about my use of the word 'ruin'. I was called out for being judgemental and/or making women feel bad about their bodies.

I got a bit flustered by that, and metaphorically threw my hands up. "There's just no point saying anything," I thought.

I felt angered because I'm really quite the feminist, and actually believe in freedom of choice. I honestly am happy for people to tattoo the words to Nine Inch Nails' Closer on their forehead if it's what they want.

But you know what? I WAS judging. Because I personally hate tattoos. I loathe them, on men and women. My brain's particular pleasure centres find them displeasing. I do actually think that when you're a young woman with slim toned legs that I personally would strangle a newborn kitten for, that tattoos flung carelessly about your thighs do "ruin" them.

(Here I feel compelled to give a disclaimer: I think I'm personally ruining my body through all number of other factors - poor diet, not enough exercise, sun exposure, etc. So I don't feel "superior", I just feel "judgy").

I do accept reasons that people get tattoos done - remembering or honouring family members or friends, for the beauty they find in them, and most importantly of all, because they fricking well just want some fricking tattoos, and despite the best efforts of the Queensland government, we don't yet live in a total police state.

Now, I hear you wondering, and I myself am pondering, what the frick does it matter if I hate tattoos or not? Maybe I should just shut the hell up and let people get on with their lives. Which is absolutely true.

But it proved to me that I have just gone quiet on so many things. Even just writing the above about disliking tattoos has me fearful of copping an earful.

I've just shut up because I'm honestly too tired to argue, and because I'm tired of being "wrong" all the time. And if I've just shut up about something so trivial (ie tattoos), what else have I shut up about?

Pretty much everything.

I've been listening to the song Roar by Katy Perry a lot recently. I know it's just gummy candy pop with a cute video clip, but a few of its lyrics seem to issue a warning that's hit me right in the girly brain meats.

"I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything."

I would like to stand for something. For several things, even. More importantly, I would like to be able to articulate my position without fear of causing offence and being "wrong".

Hopefully my next post will be about what those things are.*

*Beyond "Say no to tattoos", obviously.


  1. I gave myself a large dose of stfu earlier this year when I screwed up badly. Afterwards I wondered how much shouting into the wind I had been doing.
    I am never going to have a million followers or even a thousand to change the world.
    So I have been much more content to pick my targets carefully and fire with careful aim. Even if my spelling has gotten worse.
    I do judge. I tend to judge people for their political words and actions.

    I think it is much more rebellious and insidious to wear a suit and try and change the system than to wear a tatt that says "f??k the system". The tatt might change one life, but making a difference requires changing many.
    Overweight, hairy in the wrong places and bad clothes choices - is why I rarely look in the mirror or worry about others looks.

  2. You know, I always thought I wanted a tattoo - which is a little strange, seeing as I don't and won't have pierced ears because of the whole permanent dis-figuration thing it involves. Then there was an ad on the television for some saucepans or something with an old lady with an old tribal tattoo. Ew. And I started hanging out with a bunch of older people with tattoos and really ew! While they look cool when the tattoos are fresh and the skin is young... time does take its toll.

    (And I totally hear you with the work-writing taking over the more creative blog writing. My work writing is more technical, but it seems that the more words I write during the day, the less words are available for writing anything else at any time. Maybe I should try to be creative in the mornings, before I start with the heavy duty stuff?)

  3. Michael Jude Peter Barnes2:26 PM, November 19, 2013

    Sorry to read you are feeling a loss about what sort of contribution you can make.
    I can't believe that others don't get a lot out of your posts because I do. I always hope that people like you speak up in spite of those thoughts that question if you are right to say something. For if this sensitivity to being mistaken or inconsiderate of others leads those such as yourself to stop speaking, then we cede the field to those voices of the minority who are thoughtless, the callous and cruel but whose sounds and fury down out others. Remember there are others more noble but less capable than yourself who will draw inspiration from you speaking what they are thinking. Think of those who you will encourage and inspire not those who gather rage about themselves for what you say.

  4. Thanks for your comments, guys, I really appreciate you taking the time out to find and read this post before I even socmedded it. ;)

    I want to be a more vibrant writer and not be afraid to speak up more, even if what I say isn't the sharpest or funniest stuff. I just need to find out how to get my mojo back!

    (I also need to find a way to log into this comment box Disqus thing I set up using my blog ID pic not through Twitter, but that's by the by!)

  5. Sarah | The Sugar Hit6:16 PM, November 19, 2013

    Hi GC,

    It's me, that girl that gratefully took your washing machine that one time. I just wanted to tell you that I really enjoyed reading this post. I think a lot of women feel scared or wary about speaking up on any controversial issues, because we are so used to being shouted down. I even rewrote that previous sentence a few times before just deciding to say it plainly.

    It's a shame that because there are so few vocal women in the public sphere, we all feel we have to represent ultimate super-feminist/completely positive/non-controversial sentiment in everything we say. As a full-on feminist myself, I'm depressed by that. It sucks that this lack of diversity instills a fear in us all of letting the team down, and as a result we don't say anything at all. So I say, whatever you do just don't stop saying things. Please don't stop saying things. It's really freaking important. There aren't enough vocal women out there for any of us to be shutting up.

  6. Tattoos are mainly just an attempt for 'white-trash' cultures to feign some sort of identity that we don't necessarily have. People only ever get tattoos for others sake. Not theirs. If it means so much to you, why don't you write a nice subtle poem, a song or a sonnet? Probably because other people won't ever get to see or hear it, which is the whole point of a 'gnarly' tattoo of a tormented ghoulish face of a young girl on the side of ones neck isn't it? So people can appear profound, but also dangerous and spontaneous at the same time. Oh, what a perplexing little paradox.